Pitman Institute offering classes for seniors

The Academy for Lifelong Learning at the Pitman Institute is offering its first full series of classes ranging from discussions on world affairs to aging well spiritually.

The classes, aimed toward those age 50 and older, will be at Mill Race Center beginning this month.

The institute is collaborating with local, regional and national groups to bring innovative programs to Columbus, said Cindy Chodan, Mill Race program and membership director.

“Great Decisions” is an eight-week series created by the Foreign Policy Association, a national policy discussion group founded in the wake of World War I. Designed as a discussion about world affairs, the series will be led by Ryan Neville-Shepard, IUPUC assistant professor of communication studies.

Participants will read the Great Decisions Briefing Book and attend a weekly lecture and discussion group about the most critical global issues facing America.

Among the topics are Middle East alliances, Islamic State group, Cuba and the United States, The United Nations and climate change.

The lectures on the topics will include speakers from Indiana University, Franklin College and IUPUC, Neville-Shephard said.

“Discussion is an essential skill for voters,” Neville-Shepard said of the program. “We hope these discussions will inform people and offer guidance when people go to vote.”

This is the fifth incarnation of the Great Discussions offered through the Mill Race Center and IUPUC and Neville-Shepard’s fourth year guiding the program. This is the first year the Great Discussion sessions have been offered as part of the academy.¬†

For those who are seeking a more spiritual way to age, a six-week series will explore “Sage-ing.”

Led by Georgeanna Tryban, retired Indiana State University professor of gerontology, new theories about aging well will be explored, Chodan said.

The program involves deep spiritual and intellectual meditation on appreciating life as one grows older, Chodan said.

“There is something about a job which gives people purpose in life,” Tryban said. The aim of the the Sage-ing movement is to find new ways to replace that lost purpose with a new aim in life, she added. Her program focuses on devoting one’s older years to harvesting wisdom from across a lifetime, so that those ideas can be transmitted to a new generation, Tryban said.

And for those dealing with stress and anxiety, a Drum Circle workshop is planned to show how drums, voice and physical movement affect body wellness.

Lisa Beale, trained wellness facilitator with Indianapolis-based with Bongo Boy Music School, said there will be no right or wrong in the drum circle workshop.

“It’s about getting into the rhythm and bringing people together, she said. No previous experience is required, she said.

Drumming stimulates almost all areas of wellness from physical well being through physical movement to social well being through the communal nature of the program, Beale said.

Bongo drums will be provided as part of the program, Beale said. If you already have a drum, feel free to bring it, she said.

At a glance

To register for any of the three Academy of Lifelong Learning at Pitman Institute sessions: Call Mill Race Center at 812-376-9241.

For more information: Visit pitmaninstitute.org.

Great Decisions — Foreign Policy Association

When: Starts Wednesday from 6:30 to 8 p.m., and continues for eight weeks

Where: Mill Race Center

Speakers: Lectures and open discussion with a series of experts in various foreign policy areas, including:

  • Middle East Alliances — Thomas Keith Wilson, graduate student in international relations at Indiana University
  • The Rise of ISIS — David Carlson, Franklin College religion professor
  • The Kurds — Speaker has not been announced
  • Migration — Justin Schon, graduate student of international relations at Indiana University
  • The Koreas — J.K. Lee, IUPUC associate business professor
  • The United Nations — Randy Smith, Franklin College associate political science professor
  • Climate Change — Luke Jacobus, IUPUC biology professor
  • Cuba and the United States — Matt Souza, IUPUC special Assistant to the vice chancellor and dean for strategy¬†

Price: $25 for Mill Race Center members, $35 for non-members. Limited to 40 participants.

Drum Circle Workshop

When: 2 p.m. Feb. 11

Where: Mill Race Center

Price: Free for members, $5 for non-members. Limited to 40 participants.

Sage-ing: Aging Well Spiritually

When: 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. each Thursday from March 3 through April 7

Where: Mill Race Center

Price: $30 for Mill Race Center members, $50 for non-members. Limited to 40 participants.